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European Le Mans Series

Rosin: Debut LMP2 Title a “Big Credit” to Prema

Prema boss Rene Rosin “happy and proud” after team secures ELMS title in debut season…

Photo: Prema

Prema team principal Rene Rosin hailed the Italian squad’s European Le Mans Series LMP2 title as a “big credit” to those who worked on its new sports car racing program.

Renowned single-seater outfit Prema joined the LMP2 category this year and won the ELMS title at the first attempt with four victories across the six-round campaign.

It wrapped up the championship by winning Sunday’s 4 Hours of Portimao with drivers’ champions Louis Deletraz and Ferdinand Habsburg alongside Juan Manuel Correa, who joined the lineup for the final two races after missing three rounds with  a foot injury.

“It has been a difficult, intense season, so it’s a great result,” Rosin told Sportscar365.

“What the team and drivers have done in such a short time to be immediately competitive in ELMS and WEC, I think is a big credit to all the people [involved].

“We had JM come in for the last two races, substituting for Lorenzo [Colombo]. JM was planned since the beginning but he had this problem. Today he drove an amazing race.

“I’m really happy and proud of all the people working with Prema.”

Prema’s priority in the season finale at Portimao was to stay out of trouble, knowing that any result between winning and 10th place would be enough to secure the title.

The race presented tricky conditions caused by a series of light rain showers, however the team pushed through with its strategy of consistently going one lap longer than its LMP2 rivals on fuel and staying on slick Goodyear tires throughout.

“We never changed from slicks,” Rosin said.

“We kept monitoring the weather forecast. There were some moments of rain coming, but the drivers drove a safe race.

“In the end, it turned out that it was the right call to make.”

After trailing to Inter Europol Competition and TDS Racing in the early stages, Prema rose to the lead when it benefited from the timing of a Full Course Yellow period that aligned with its fuel strategy.

The FCY just after the halfway mark was caused by an accident for Algarve Pro Racing LMP2 driver Alex Peroni, who slid from a slippery track into the tire barriers.

“We decided as a team that saving some fuel and going an extra lap would be the way to go,” Habsburg explained.

“Unfortunately, it started raining as it came to the end of the stint, but a Full Course Yellow came out just as I was pitting.

“Everybody else pitted under green, which gave me the lead. It was an awesome time to be in the car.

“It was just about keeping it on the track. We had a great opening from the ‘Juan and only’, who put us in this perfect position. And thanks to Lorenzo. He was such a good teammate all year long and was properly replaced with Juan.”

Habsburg emerged ahead of the TDS Oreca 07 Gibson, which subsequently faded due to its tire selection and an accident.

The Austrian remained more than a minute clear of second place which ultimately went to Panis Racing’s title hopefuls Julien Canal, Nico Jamin and Job van Uitert.

While Prema won its first sports car racing accolade, Deletraz became a two-time ELMS champion after earning his first crown last year with Team WRT.

Deletraz is the second driver to have won back-to-back ELMS championships after Nelson Panciatici in 2013-14, and the sixth to have won two in total joining Panciatici, Tommy Erdos, Mike Newton, Paul-Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas.

“It’s amazing,” said the Swiss driver. “There was a lot of work behind it from all the team.

“Prema has won pretty much everywhere they’ve been. It was a no-brainer to join them this year, especially with such a lineup.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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